Crossing bars

Northland has multiple bar harbours. These have a shallow sand bar across the harbour entrance which can be dangerous to cross, particularly during low tide.

Before crossing:

  • Check weather and tides for the area and seek advice from locals.
  • Check your steering and engines.
  • Consider the skipper’s experience level and the vessel type.
  • A rapid change in conditions may prevent a safe return to harbour – if your vessel and provision levels won’t allow you to weather it out at sea, don’t leave port.

During a bar crossing:

  • Securely batten down or close all deck openings, hatches and doors.
  • Ensure your vessel has adequate stability. Secure moveable objects and ensure all  weights, including passengers, are as low down in the vessel as possible.
  • Ensure everyone on board is awake, dressed and wearing their lifejacket.
  • Approach the bar at a moderate speed so you can adjust your speed as needed.
  • Have a lookout at the back of the boat to watch for dangerous building swells.